Chapter 15 — Denunciation of Ego

Rama continued:—

Egoism springs from false conceit fostered by vanity. I am much afraid of this enemy, baneful egotism. All men in this diversified world, even the very poorest of them, fall into the dungeon of evils and misdeeds under the influence of ego. All accidents, anxieties, troubles and wicked exertions proceed from ego and self-confidence. Hence I deem ego to be like a disease.

Being subject to that everlasting arch-enemy, the cynic ego, I have refrained from food and drink. What other enjoyment is there for me to partake? This world resembles a long continuous night in which our ego, like a hunter, spreads the snare of affections. All our great and intolerable miseries, growing as rank as thorny acacia plants, are only the results of our ego. It overcasts the equanimity of mind like an eclipse shadows the moon. It destroys our virtues like frost destroys lotus flowers. It dispels the peace of men as autumn drives away the clouds. Therefore, I must get rid of this egoistic feeling.

I am not Rama the prince. I have no desire, nor should I wish for wealth, but I wish to have the peace of my mind and remain like the self-satisfied old sage Jina. All that I have eaten, done or offered in sacrifice under the influence of ego have gone for nothing. The absence of ego is the real good. 10 So long, O brahmin, as there is ego, he is subject to sorrow at his difficulties. If he is devoid of it, he becomes happy. Hence it is better to be without it. 11 I am free from anxiety, O sage, ever since I have come to know the impermanence of all enjoyments, gave up my sense of egoism, and attained tranquility of my mind.

12 As long, O brahmin, as the cloud of egoism covers our minds, our desires expand themselves like kurchi plant buds in rain. 13 But when the cloud of egoism is dispersed, the lightning of greed vanishes away, just like when a lamp is extinguished, its light immediately disappears. 14 The mind vaunts with ego, like a furious elephant in the Vindhyan Hills when it hears thunder in the clouds. 15 Ego is like a lion, living in the vast forest of all human bodies, who ranges about at large throughout the whole extent of this earth.

16 The self-conceited are decorated with a string of pearls about their necks, of which greed forms the thread and repeated births are the pearls. 17 Our hostile enemy ego, like a magician, has spread about us the enchantments of our wives, friends and children, whose spells it is hard to break. 18 As soon as the impression of the word ego is effaced from the mind, all our anxieties and troubles are wiped out of it. 19 The cloud of ego being dispelled from the sky of our minds, the mist of error which it spreads to destroy our peace will also disperse.

20 I have given up my ego, yet my mind remains stupefied with sorrow from my ignorance. Tell me, O brahmin, what do you think is right for me under these circumstances? 21 I have given up this egoism with much trouble, and I would like to not depend upon this source of all evil and worry any more. It retains its seat in the breast only to annoy me, without benefiting me by any good quality of its own. Direct me now, you men of great understandings!